* WARREN'S WORDS "If the rest of these guys want to catch up, they'll have to work harder than us -- and I can't imagine that! We're always working to improve our performance. In this business, if you slow down, you're going to get run...
* WARREN'S WORDS
"If the rest of these guys want to catch up, they'll have to work harder than us -- and I can't imagine that! We're always working to improve our performance. In this business, if you slow down, you're going to get run over."
* PERFECT RICHMOND RECORD
Warren Johnson is the undefeated, untied champion at the Pennzoil Nationals. In the event's three-year history, Warren has never lost a round -- he's won the Pennzoil Nationals three straight times and scored 12 consecutive round wins. Johnson has also been the No. 1 qualifier and run the quickest elapsed time at Virginia Motorsports Park three straight years.
"The first time we went to Virginia, the track was pretty green and our experience on new tracks was an advantage," Warren explained. "Then as the track cured, we discovered that we could use our horsepower advantage. It played right into our hands."
* RETURNING TO THE SCENE OF FAST TIMES
At 7:27 p.m. on April 25, 1997, Warren Johnson recorded a top speed of 200.13 mph at Virginia Motorsports Park -- the first 200 mph Pro Stock run in NHRA history. W.J.'s record-setting performance during the second round of qualifying for the Pennzoil Nationals earned him a $25,000 prize and a charter membership in the Speed-Pro 200 mph Pro Stock Club. Johnson subsequently raised the mark to 200.53 mph before rain forced postponement of the event.
"I had a feeling of relief after we finally ran 200 mph," Warren recalled. "We knew we had the horsepower to do it. It was just a matter of waiting for the right conditions. It happened just the way I envisioned it -- Kurt was first in the sixes, and I was the first to run 200 mph. Reaching these two milestones was an accomplishment for our entire team."
* A TIME TO REMEMBER
The euphoria over the first 200 mph run overshadowed Johnson's record-setting 6.894-second elapsed time -- the first Pro Stock pass in the 6.80's at an NHRA event. In less than seven seconds, Warren also pocketed a $15,000 bonus from the MBNA World Record Club. Not a bad night's work for a man who professes that money is his primary motivation for racing!
* THE FINAL FRONTIER
Warren Johnson has posted 14 of the 17 runs over 200 mph recorded to date in Pro Stock. He is the only driver to run 201 mph -- a feat he's achieved four times in 1998. He currently holds the NHRA national speed record at 201.20 mph.
"After I ran 200 mph, people asked me what I was going to do next," Warren reported. "Obviously our next goal was to run 201. The next barrier is 202. It never ends. When everyone else is running 200, we want to run 202. It becomes a personal challenge. We're making a statement that we're going to keep going faster."
* HOME SWEET HOME -- NOT!
Although Atlanta Dragway is W.J.'s "home track," the Fram Nationals did not treat the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team kindly when racing resumed on Monday after rain washed out Sunday's final eliminations. W.J. suffered a first-round loss -- his earliest exit since he lost in the first round of the Pennzoil Nationals in Memphis in October, 1997. Kurt Johnson's string of final-round appearances in the Fram Nationals came to an abrupt end when his ACDelco Camaro lost on a holeshot to Rickie Smith in the second round.
* POINTS RACE UPDATE
Although W.J. bowed out in the first round at the Fram Nationals, he actually increased his lead in the Winston championship race over Jim Yates by qualifying 12 positions ahead of his rival. Johnson now leads Yates by 103 points (480 to 377) after five rounds of the 22-race series.
* 600 WINS . . . STILL WAITING
Warren Johnson's surprising loss to No. 15 qualifier Steve Schmidt in the first round at the Fram Nationals also postponed the celebration of W.J.'s 600th career round win. Johnson's won-lost record in national event competition now stands at 599-225 (.726) -- the most wins among active NHRA drivers. John Force is second with 544 round wins.
* RICHMOND RECORD
Warren Johnson's year-by-year results at the Pennzoil Nationals:
Year Qualified Result 1995 1 Winner (over Yates) 1996 1 Winner (over Edwards) 1997 1 Winner (over Kurt Johnson)
* WARREN JOHNSON 200 MPH RUNS (NATIONAL EVENTS)
1. 200.13 Dinwiddie, VA 4/25/97 2. 200.53 Dinwiddie, VA 4/27/97 3. 201.11 Gainesville, FL 3/13/98 4. 200.62 Gainesville, FL 3/13/98 5. 201.20 Gainesville, FL 3/14/98 6. 200.40 Gainesville, FL 3/14/98 7. 200.66 Gainesville, FL 3/14/98 8. 200.66 Gainesville, FL 3/14/98 9. 200.04 Baytown, TX 3/20/98 10. 200.80 Baytown, TX 3/21/98 11. 200.44 Baytown, TX 3/21/98 12. 201.11 Baytown, TX 3/22/98 13. 200.08 Baytown, TX 3/22/98 14. 201.02 Baytown, TX 3/22/98
* KURT JOHNSON 200 MPH RUNS (NATIONAL EVENTS)
1. 200.13 Gainesville, FL 3/14/98